Life & Times

I Can Be Your Hero Baby

I am a hero.

Yeah, I’m saying it. No sense in being bashful about it. You don’t ever see Batman going “No, actually…I’m not him. People make that mistake all the time. I just wear this latex suit because it breaths well when I jog.”

I saved a life this week, y’all.

Here’s the back story…

At my current dwelling there resides no less than 7 beta fish. 5 of which are located in the kitchen. As you probably know, beta fish really like to call themselves Siamese Fighting Fish and much like the Offspring song, you gotta keep ’em seperated. I bring this up because there are fish tanks everywhere, and I think it’s hilarious.

Anywho…Archimedes is a small white/albino beta who tanks in a window sill above the kitchen sink.

Earlier this week, my roommate/co-worker/homie Shayla and I were stumbling around the kitchen trying to get our lives together to go to work. Since neither of us had had coffee or breakfast yet, we were basically bumping around the kitchen trying not to fall over while packing Greek yogurt and cheese sticks. If you’ve ever seen someone run a Dizzy Bat Race at a baseball game…that’s how we look in the morning.

I had just manuevered around Shayla to dump an old glass of water in the sink when I noticed that the pink rose in the green glass vase on the window sill had dried up and died. I don’t know, it’s still kind of pretty that way, I thought as my eyes slid down to the bottom of the vase.

Then I saw it.

I double-blinked. Stared. Double blinked again.

There, lying on the other side of the vase, was a very still, very dried up Archimedes.

“Oh, no!” I gasped.

He looked like this little pink plastic fish I got from the dentist when I was a kid: his little beedy black eyes staring straight at me, his mouth gaping open, laying completely motionless on his side. I vainly searched the fish tank to make sure that he wasn’t still in there and that the fish toy from my childhood hadn’t pulled some kind of Toy Story trick to put itself back in my life. Unfortunately, the tank was empty.

“What is it?” Shayla asked. She was in the laundry room, which connected to the kitchen, moving clothes into the dryer.

“Um…” I started. Archimedes is Shayla’s fish, and I really didn’t want to break the news to her that her fish was dead so early in the morning. Especially since he was bought to replace her last fish that died.

“Do I even want to know?” She asked, reading the look of dismay on my face. I could tell from her tone that she already knew what was wrong.

“No. You don’t.”

“I can’t handle it. I can’t see it. I have problems…the texture..”

“I know, I know. I’ll take care of it.”

I sighed and ripped a paper towel from the holder and then scooped poor Archimedes up inside it. Fish deserve a water buriel, so I headed for the bathroom to flush him. As I stepped into the bathroom, I felt a small tap-tap in my palm. I figured it was probably just his little fish body settling in the paper towel, but I decided to check just to be sure. I peaked inside the wadded up paper towel. Archimedes lay still. Then suddenly his tail fin swished back and forth.

“Wait a minute! There’s still hope!” I remembered from my beta research that betas actually breath by filtering water through their gills and by gulping the air.

Shayla was my best good friend. She loved her fish dearly, as one would love a dog or a small child. This fish could be saved. I knew what I had to do.

I dumped Archimedes from the paper towel into my hand. He made no other movements than a weak swish of his tail fin. Beta lungs are tiny, be careful.  I lifted his body up to my face, put his little open mouth up to mine and I breathed a small bit of air into his little lifeless body.

Not really. Don’t worry, I didn’t perform fish CPR. And I wouldn’t put my lips on a fish unless it were fried and battered first.

Here’s what actually happened…

“He’s alive!” I cried.

“Are you serious?!”

I ran back to the kitchen sink and dumped Archimedes into his tank.  Please don’t go belly up, I thought. I had no idea how long he’d been out of water. But as dry and still as he looked I assumed it had been a while.

Well sure enough, the little dude starts swimming all over the place.

“He’s totally swimming. He’s alive.” I said in disbelief.

We watched in stunned silence as little Archimedes swam all around his tank, clearly relieved to be back in his natural habitat. He appeared to be fine, other than the fact that because he’d been laying in the direct sun for who knows how long, his little white body had gotten completely sunburned. No joke. The dude was bright pink.

So yeah, I was 30 minutes late for work. And yeah, betas only cost 3 dollars. But I saved his life. He could have been flushed to smithereens. I saved him. He lives to swim another day.

We don’t actually know why he was out of his tank. Betas are known jumpers, so he must have jumped out, but we don’t know why and I don’t know how he ended up like 7 inches away from his tank. He’s still doing fine, although his skin is peeling.

How many lives have YOU saved today?
(question not open to doctors, certified life savers or professional rescuers)

Thanks for reading! =)

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